Coronavirus live updates | Rahul Gandhi releases white paper on COVID-19

Coronavirus live updates | Rahul Gandhi releases white paper on COVID-19
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More than 82 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered on June 21, the highest-ever in a day since the inoculation drive began in India. A total of 82,70,212 doses were administered across the country, including the first and second shots, till 9 p.m.

According to the Union Health Ministry, the sharp spike was due to the “new phase of universalisation of COVID-19 vaccination which commenced from Monday”.

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are the latest updates:

New Delhi

Congress releases report on COVID-19

The Congress released a report on COVID-19 mismanagement prepared by the Research Department of the party at a press conference.

Rahul Gandhi, at the press conference, said, the white paper was not to point fingers at anyone “to correct the shortcomings in the future”. The report is based on discussion that took place within the Congress structure and experts, he said.

“Everyone had predicted a second wave but the government didn’t have the correct response.”

He said we were again at that stage where a third wave is likely to hit. “That’s why the government needs to be fully prepared. The propose of this white paper is not to point fingers at the government but to help the nation prepare for the third wave.”

Calling it a blue print to deal with the third wave, he said, “we are trying to give information to the government about where we went wrong.”

Vaccination is the central pillar on which COVID-19 can be dealt with, Mr. Gandhi said. “One pillar is what went wrong and our suggestion is to set up a commission to examine what went wrong.”

The second pillar on which COVID-19 management stands is infrastructure “that we didn’t have in the first and second wave”, he added.

He said the third pillar was economy. “COVID-19 isn’t just a biological disease but a social and economic ailment. We have been talking about giving assistance to the poor people.”

“Fourth pillar is the COVID-19 compensation fund to help families that have lost bread winners.”

Not the time and place for discussing Pawar’s meeting

Asked about NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s scheduled meeting with Opposition leaders at his Delhi residence, Mr. Gandhi said his intention for the press conference was to bring focus on COVID-19. “There is a time and place for discussion (on the Opposition conclave) and I am happy to discuss it then.”

Calling Monday’s record number of vaccinations in the country “a good job done”, Mr. Gandhi said, “We must make this a mission. This is a matter of life and death and the government must not view Indian States as BJP and Congress States. We have to fight corona in a decentralised manner. Everyone has a place (in the fight) — the Prime Minister, Chief Minister, District Magistrate and the citizens.”

“Dr. Manmohan Singh has given suggestions but you ridiculed him. Later, you had to accept the suggestions. You have to accept you’ve made mistakes; only then you can correct it,” Mr. Gandhi said, addressing the Centre.

‘Centre hiding number of deaths’

The Centre was hiding the truth on the number of deaths, he alleged. “The number is five to six times that provided by the government.”

We can attack the government later, he said, stressing the need to address the looming threat of the third wave. “If you thought the second wave was bad, the third wave is going to be worse!”

During the second wave, 90% of the COVID-19 deaths in India were needless deaths mainly due to shortage of oxygen and not those owing to serious co-morbidities, he said.

“PM’s tears can’t wipe off the tears of the families who lost their loved ones, of those who died needlessly. PM Modi was not taking things seriously. His focus was on different things and fighting elections in Bengal. The PM was also engaged in marketing events like taali bajao, thaali bajaao.”

‘Vaccination only solution’

“Vaccination is the only solution. Deploy as many vaccines as possible on a war footing and in mission mode. India is the only country where people are paying for vaccines in private hospitals,” he said.

Mr. Gandhi alleged the gap fixed by the government between two doses was a political decision, that taken due to shortage of vaccines.

“The Centre is making Rs. 4 lakh crore from taxes on petrol and diesel. Why can’t they give some of this back to the people? Families need the money to be productive.”

Asked about vaccine hesitancy, particularly among women and Muslims, he said vaccination was a must and that awareness campaigns must be conducted.

– Sandeep Phukan

New Delhi

India records less than 50k COVID-19 cases in a day, lowest in 91 days

India recorded less than 50,000 new coronavirus infections, the lowest in 91 days, taking the total tally of cases to 2,99,77,861, while active cases fell below 7 lakh after 79 days, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on June 22.

A total of 42,640 COVID-19 infections were reported in a day, while the death toll climbed to 3,89,302 with 1,167 daily fatalities, the lowest in 68 days.

According to the data published at 7 a.m., India administered 86.16 lakh vaccine doses, the highest ever single-day vaccination achieved in the world so far, the Health Ministry said.

 

Maharashtra

Vaccination drive in Maharashtra prisons going slow

The vaccination drive across 47 prisons in Maharashtra has been rather slow with only 4,409 inmates having received at least the first dose out of the total 33,971 inmates, that it houses.

According to the Maharashtra Prison Department, there are 28,716 under-trials and 5,255 convicts lodged across the State of which 3,338 under-trials and 1,021 convicts have been vaccinated.

However, Additional Director General of Police (prisons) Sunil Ramanand told The Hindu, “We are handling around 34,000 inmates in prisons including temporary prisons. We have vaccinated 30% of our prison population in jails across the State. At Taloja Jail, we had organised vaccinations camps for prisoners. Superintendents of jails are in touch with officers of respective municipal corporations are steps are taken to expedite the process. The numbers of COVID-19 positive cases have gone down and in the second wave we have seen three deaths. The situation is under control.”

U.S.

U.S. shares plan to allocate 55 million vaccines from its stockpile

The Biden administration, on June 21, announced how it would allocate 55 million of the 80 million doses from its vaccine supply to other countries. It is unclear how many doses India will receive in this second allocation.

The administration already outlined its plans to share the first 25 million doses of its stockpile both bilaterally and via COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX — an international coalition to distribute vaccines globally. Three quarters of the 80 million is being shared via COVAX and one quarter is being directly. Of the 80 million, 60 million are AstraZeneca vaccines, not yet approved for use in the U.S.

Karnataka, Telangana

As barricades go, shoppers, tourists hit the road

The end of lockdown witnessed patrons returning to hotels and a variety of shops in Karnataka and Telangana.

Karnataka on Monday relaxed norms in six more districts as the COVID-19 test positivity rate (TPR) fell to less than 5%. Udupi, Bengaluru Rural, Shivamogga, Ballari, Chitradurga, and Vijayapura districts were brought under relaxations in lockdown.

Hyderabadis were back to relishing Irani chai at their favourite roadside joints. City residents stepped out from home and caught up with friends at the bustling cafes and restaurants. Other business establishments, including private travels, transport, electrical, clothing, steel industry and wholesale markets at Abids, Begum Bazaar and Secunderabad were buzzing with customers. Religious places were also thrown open.

Cuba

Cuba says Abdala vaccine 92.28% effective against coronavirus

Cuba said on Monday its three-shot Abdala vaccine against the coronavirus had proved 92.28% effective in last-stage clinical trials.

The announcement came just days after the government said another homegrown vaccine, Soberana 2, had proved 62% effective with just two of its three doses.

“Hit by the pandemic, our scientists at the Finlay Institute and Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology have risen above all the obstacles and given us two very effective vaccines,” President Miguel Diaz-Canel tweeted.



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